Having lived in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct for nearly 10 years, Greedy Girl has seen it develop from wilderness to hot spot. Indeed, in the early days, Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband couldn’t walk down their side of the river towards the city because there was no infrastructure. A desire to go out locally at night for a glass of wine or a snack went unrequited. There literally wasn’t anything around except, well, other apartments.

The development of South Wharf changed all that. It took a rather long time and lots of false starts to get going but, going it is with some very good restaurants, a host of acceptable spots and a perfect location from which to enjoy Melbourne at its best.

Akachochin has been established for a good while. Greedy Girl has dined there a few times but hasn’t thought of blogging it until now.

The menu here is relatively succinct. There’s the opportunity to choose very traditional dishes, including the ubiquitous sashimi and sushi but the restaurant seems to have carved a niche in Melbourne Japanese food for something a bit out of the ordinary. We wandered in fairly early on a Monday night. Although there’s a tasting menu with matched sake offered for A$66 per person, which seems like a pretty good deal, we just wanted to have a snack and ordered a la carte.

Taking a “Rising Sun pale ale” from Baird Beer (based in Japan) and a glass of French sparkling from the Loire Valley, we opted for three dishes to share. First up was the plate pictured at the top of this post, the Wagyu tataki. Tataki is a style of cooking that sears the edges of the produce with the rest remaining raw. It was a tasty and attractive dish; the beef was served with a miso sauce laced with citrus and chilli. It was sweet, spicy, a little sticky and quite delicious. On top was a profusion of deep-fried leek. It was an interesting texture but didn’t give much of an onion hit. Still, a very good way to start.

Next we chose the spicy tuna maki. This is essentially an inside-out sushi roll, dusted with sesame seeds. While gluttonous husband helped himself to the ginger on the side of the plate, Greedy Girl tried to elegantly chomp her way through the roll; with the seaweed on the inside, it’s tricky to make, ahem, a clean bite. She had to resort to popping the whole slice into her mouth at once.  The tuna was very good and it combined well with some chilli mayo and tenkasu, which is like the batter used for tempura. It’s dribbled into hot oil to make little crunchy puffed pieces.

Akachochin Melbourne Japanese food

Spicy tuna maki

Finally we took the tempura ‘moriawase’ with sweet potato chips. From what Greedy Girl can gather, moriawase just means mixed. We were given two prawns, a slice of egg plant and a very delectable snapper, coated in crunchy batter. Gluttonous husband commented it was one of the best pieces of fish he’d had in recent times. The addition of the sweet potato chips on the side was inspired. They were a lovely foil.
Akachochin Melbourne Japanese food

Tempura with sweet potato chips

And we were done and it was an enjoyable, if slightly expensive snack. For the quality of the food here, the tasting menu (the deal is only available on Monday nights) looks like a great option.
Apparently the restaurant is named for the traditional red paper lanterns that swing outside izakayas throughout Japan and these are to be found in the outdoor dining area overlooking the South Wharf promenade, the river and the city.

According to the restaurant’s website, the head chef is Kengo Hiromatsu from Fukuoka, who likes to create edible ‘works of art’. Certainly the plating here is attractive but whether it’s elevated to an art form? Greedy Girl thinks the food doesn’t need such hype-y claims. It’s fresh, flavoursome and interesting, with some touches beyond the mundane. Certainly there’s not much Melbourne Japanese food quite like it.


The Foodie World star rating
South Wharf Promenade, Docklands
Akachochin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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